Gray hair has no age, that is an indisputable truth. There are people who come out before, others after, or even people who take a long time to find one in their heads. But what we all have when we see the first gray hair are some doubts.
Therefore the doctor Lidia Trasobares, head of the department of Dermatology of the Prince of Asturias University Hospital (Madrid), and associate professor at the University of Alcalá de Henares banishes the main myths about canas and reveals the reality of them.
Myths about gray hair
First, Pulling out gray hair does not prevent the appearance of new onesAlthough it warns that doing it in a “systematic and repetitive” way can lead to fibrosis of the follicle and the definitive disappearance of that hair. “Continued hair removal of a follicle can lead to the permanent disappearance of that hair,” he insists.
On the other hand, the specialist highlights that no more gray hair will come out by pulling out the ones that have already seen the light, given that gray hair is a physiological process of hair aging, and gray hair will appear progressively regardless of whether some are pulled out.
Why do they go out and who is predisposed to it? Trasobares highlights that hair graying is a natural phenomenon in humans associated with age and heredity. “It is characterized by a depletion of the ‘melanocyte’ in melanin synthesis leading to an absence of melanin in the hair shaft. It is estimated that between 6 and 23% of the world population will have 50% of their hair gray by age 50“, need.
In addition, it indicates that the appearance of gray hair before the age of 20 in the Caucasian population and by 30 years of age in blacks is considered precocious gray hair. “The early poodle it can be hereditary or associated with other diseases mainly of autoimmune origin. It must be differentiated from genetically determined diseases that occur with white hair “, he reviews.
Regarding the growth of gray hair, the dermatologist emphasizes that it has been shown that beard hairs grow faster if they are white that if they are black.
Furthermore, “the people of thick hair tends to graying earlier than those with fine hair, “he adds, while clarifying that” gray hair has not been shown to be weaker than pigmented hair. ”
Regarding the color of gray hair, the specialist at the Hospital Príncipe de Asturias specifies that these they are not really white. “It is an optical effect of light that masks the intrinsic yellowish color of the keratin in the hair. In the same hair you can see different shades of color from normal to white and the mixture of white and colored hair is what gives the hair look gray, “he warns.
Factors that favor the appearance of gray hair
- Genetics: Early gray hair has a hereditary component.
- Syndromes associated with premature aging, such as Progeria.
- Autoimmune diseases such as pernicious anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency, thyroid problems, iron or copper deficiency.
- Stress: it can lead to hair loss, which when recovering will do so with thinner and less pigmented hair than the original, and giving the hair an initially lighter appearance.
“Another situation described on various occasions throughout history is the sudden graying associated with a situation of very severe stress, such as the one referred to before the execution of Marie Antoinette or Thomas More, also the one suffered by the Indian emperor Shah Jahan after the death of his wife, for whom he had the Taj Mahal built, or even in survivors of World War II “, Explain.
On this matter, he emphasizes that, although the exact cause is unknown, it seems that they were not graying “overnight” as some stories tell, but associated with a form of hair loss, which is ‘alopecia areata’, for which hair can be lost in a few days or weeks and that when it repopulates it does so with gray hair.
Smoking: “It is not clear that it accelerates the appearance of gray hair but it should be avoided so as not to accelerate aging.”
Sun exposure does not influence the appearance of gray hair, although it can lighten the hair.
Gray hair is a marker of cardiovascular disease: atherosclerosis and hair aging share similar mechanisms, such as oxidative stress, impaired DNA repair, and senescence of cellular mechanisms.
In a study recent study carried out in 545 men with suspected coronary artery disease and presented at Europrevent 2017, it is indicated that patients with a higher degree of hair whitening had a higher risk of coronary heart disease independent of chronological age and established risk factors. They indicate that larger studies including women should be carried out to confirm the association between hair aging and cardiovascular disease, “says the dermatology expert.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.